Codex Daemons: The “Best of” Review

Greetings denizens of the warp! It is I, Captain A, here to share with you what I am excited about to try from the new Daemons Codex. These are the units, abilities, relics, and stratagems I think are top notch and ones you need to try or watch out for when playing and facing the new daemons codex. This isn’t a comprehensive review, rather more of my top picks and things I’m excited to try in the daemons codex. For more articles, check out the Tactics Corner.

Daemons was the army that lured me back into 40k all that time ago when they had to deepstrike half their army and you didn’t know which one was coming in! I’m a gambler by nature but hate losing money so Daemons was a great army to scratch my gambling itch. Since then I’ve amassed a large amount of Daemons and even have a whole Goat themed Slaanesh army at my beck and call. I’m excited for this season and plan on doing a lot of daemons this year so with the release of the new codex I’m pumped to see what they can do.



Lets take a look at some of the hot choices for units amongst the four gods.


  • Bloodletters – The basic Khorne troop is great in this edition with a -3 ap power sword, S4, and a 5++ save. If they charge, get charged, or perform a Heroic Intervention they get +1 Strength and an extra attack. These make them brutal against most armies out there in close combat.
  • Skarbrand – Maybe not top tier but certainly appeals to my gambler nature. He needs to make a charge and can lock enemy units in combat, again with some luck. He could totally swing a game if the stars align. You are going to want some CP’s to bump his save to help keep him alive. Again, gambly, but could be a game changer.
  • Karanak – For just a small cost you get an HQ that has 2 deny rolls! He moves fast so can get where he needs to be and can shut down enemies psychic phases and such a great nuisance, not to mention his ability to pick out a weak character and have a better chance at picking them off. On top of that he boasts 6 wounds with a great attack that is -2 ap with 2 damage!
  • Flesh Hounds – These guys are fast with attacks that mimic a heavy bolter profile. Each unit can also do a deny the witch so these are a solid choice.


  • Fluxmaster – They are fast, backed up with some great psychic powers, and can add a Staff of Change giving you a 24” Smite range. These guys can do some great stuff and really buffs Horrors, the linchpin of the Tzeentch fore.
  • Horrors – Cheap and in groups of 20+ putting out 3 shots each, they have the potential of getting 90 S4 shots that also get +1 Wounds and reroll ones to hit. This volume of fire can be devastating to many thigs.
  • Flamers – I love these, 6 deepstriking is still one CP and have a 12” pistol flamer. Great in almost every situation. Deepstriking in, doing 6-9d6 S4-5 AP-1 hits, then if they get charged will do the same, then in the shooting phase they will still be able to shoot. Great unit.
  • Exalted Flamers – If this was cheaper it would be an all star, but as is, can still be very effective. A great mid range high strength gun combined with a better version of the flamer above, this character could be a great combo with the flamers or horrors above as they get the loci too.


  • Epidemius – The more you kill nurgle units and Epidemius in your army, the better your army becomes.
  • Nurglings – Nurglings are clutch for just about any Daemons or CSM list as one of the big things about 40k right now is board control. These are the Scouts of the Daemon book and can set up anywhere 9” from a deployment zone and 9” from enemy models. Need to ensure that charge? Put them right on the line. If your opponent does not have scouts, rangers, or other infiltrating units, use these to help easily get things like recon and behind enemy lines as a unit in the middle can go to the exact quadrant they need too with very little movement to max out those Recon points. They are cheap, resilient, and an all star Daemon unit.
  • Plaguebearers – Another great unit that is tough to remove and with some buffs can be very deadly.
  • Plague Toads – These beasties, with buffs, can put out a ton of damage, and receive a ton of damage and still keep ticking. If you play them right, they can be a giant pain in your opponents side.
  • Sloppity Bilepiper – A great Nurgling bugger and a character that helps your moral phase by allowing units to roll 2 dice and keep the lowest so units with an Icon have double the chance to get that 1 and receive d6 models back to the unit.
  • Feculant Gnarlmaw – A crazy weird unit that cannot be removed! Placed right it gives a ton of buffs that can help push you forward or protect your backfield.
  • Spoilpox Scrivener – Makes your Plaguebearers that much better! Gives bonus to their movement and to hit. Combined with other buffs your Plaguebearers can be putting out a ton of damage with each hit.
  • Horticulus Slmux – The great thing about this guy is that he can place a Gnarlmaw (see above) within 3” of him. Get this in the middle of the table to create all kinds of headaches for your opponent.
  • Poxbringer – A great cheap HQ that has T5, 4W, a 5++, and 5+ Feel No Pain. Great solid unit that I like to put the Shrivelling pox on to help take down those big baddies, or truly wipe out those chaff squads.
  • Great Unclean One – With the Bell, this unit can be bringing back models on a 4+. Great to accompany Plague Toads or Drones and keep them at maximum capacity. Also a tough beast to pull down with their saves and Disgustingly Resilient.


  • Heralds – The Herald is clutch in making a Slaanesh detachment work. With their loci of allowing units to charge after advance, key placement of them (or deepstriking) is what I think will be the key to makng Slaanesh have a chance on the battlefield.
  • The Masque – A great character that enhances Daemonettes, but can also aide other Slaanesh units by giving them +1 to hit a unit within 1”.
  • Fiends – Another key to the Slaanesh strategy and perhaps an overall Daemon strategy. They keep unts locked in combat and cannot fall back unless they can fly. This will be clutch in many situations if you time it right to do minimul damage in your turn, lock the unit, then wipe it out in their turn.
  • Seekers – Expensive but oh so fast and can be deadly in combat. Combine with Fiends and Heralds for best effect.


  • Daemon Prince – The Daemon Prince with Maelfic Talons can be a great buffer to any unit with their rerolls of 1 to hit. This makes them a great addition to any legion with that reroll, as well as psychic support, psychic denial, and a very strong close combat creature as well. Don’t over commit and watch out for counter charges or getting shot up if you are not careful.
  • Furies – at 10 pts per model they seem a bit spendy, but could do some work in large blocks (take 19 to avoid that 2 reaper points) since they move so fast and can blitz in when needed. Unsure about which legion would be best as each Daemonic ability would be good with them.


What’s a champion without a fantastic relic use to amp them up? Here are some of my favorite relics.


  • Armor of Scorn – Great to help characters out with a 4++ and then pop a CP to get them to 3++. Also allows a deny attempt a turn. Great relic.
  • Crimson Crown – One of my favorite as it takes a Bloodmaster and gives a boost that mathematically makes him as good as Skulltaker. So you get +1 strength and 6’s generate another attack.
  • Skullreaver – If you are worried about titans, this is for you. Will do some serious work on a titan with all the extra mortal wound potential.


  • Imposible Robe – Another great way to get that 3++ for Tzeentch models. Probably best for those big monsters or your warlord to have a chance to keep them alive.


  • Corruption – Nasty super power sword that does D3 for each wound and allows reroll to wounds. It could be a gross ouput with all the Nurgle buffs available.


  • Forbidden Gem – While not the best, I think this could be hilarious to just outright take a charcter out of the situation. Azrael giving a 4++, not any more!
  • Soulstealer – I think this is geared best for that super narrative game where you want to take a Keeper of Secrets to help keep it alive longer. Heals wounds for when you kill models.


These are key to taking armies to top tier and Daemons have some good ones.


  • Banner of Blood – Chances are if you are playing Daemons you will be facing this Banner/Stratagem. It gives a Bloodletter unit a 3d6 charge once per game. Steller when combined with a deep striking unit and with a loci you get to reroll if you failed. This can take a unit flying across the table and locking up multiple units. If you are not prepared, it could shut an army completely down.
  • Frenetic Bloodlust – Combined with the banner above and you could shut down an entire turtle/castle army down in one go. Allows you to fight again, make sure you have selected everything you can reach for the most impact.


  • Magical Boon – I’ll admit there isn’t much for Tzeentch, but this could be useful allowing you to immediately cast another power.


  • Plague Banner – A great banner for when you face that army with lots of multiple wound models, gives you a chance to one shot multi wound models with their extra damage output.


  • Aura of Acquiescence – Allowing you to choose a unit and lower their attacks by one, this could easily mean the difference between an alive or dead unit.


  • Denizens of the Warp – You’ve all heard about it and it is sooooo good! Deep striking Daemons are back baby! 1 cp for up to 8pl and 2 cp for 8+, bring in those troops and big baddies where you need them for maximum effect. I love it.
  • Daemonic Incursion – Situational but oh so funny. 2cp to bring back a just killed unit at full strength by Grey Knights. See the steam flowing from their ears with this one.
  • Daemonic Possession – Situational as well but could be game changing. Forces an enemy psyker to take 2d3 on a Peris of the Warp. Since most casting characters are 4 wounds, it should kill them outright.
  • Warp Surge – Clutch for raising a units invul save by +1, but disallowing rerolls, combine this with 30 Bloodletters to avoid the overwatch and ensuing combat phase damage. As well as giving you the chance to keep that key big character alive.

Warlord Traits

Your warlord can be a great force multiplier with these new traits. Each got has access to six for a total of 24 options!


  • Rage Incarnate – Khorne has some of the worse Warlord Traits, but this one can be great, allowing reroll of hits of 1, adding an extra buff for many units.


  • Incorporeal Form – Great for keeping characters alive by lowering the damage profile of a weapon by 1. If you have played against a Wave Serpent you know how frustrating this can be.
  • Tyrant of the Warp – Keep your psyker alive by avoiding mortal wounds from perils on a 2+.
  • Daemonspark – Again, that reroll hits of 1 trait that is very good combined with large Horror units.


  • Acidic Ichor – Adding to the mortal wound spam that Nurgle can do, this is a great power to dish out extra damage.


  • Bewitching Aura – Another -1 attack option for Slaanesh to keep you alive while you give them pleasure from pain.

Psychic Powers

Known for their warp trickery, the new Daemons codex doesn’t let us down with some excellent choices.


  • Khorne doesn’t need dirty psychics, Khorne needs more blood!


  • Boon of Change – Boon is a great power for Horrors and Flamers to give them a chance at another +1 strength. The other boons are less so, but I wouldn’t walk away from +1 toughness any day.
  • Fickering Flames – Great power combo for Flamers or Horrors, giving them +1 to wound. Flamers wreck face with this and makes Horrors more deadly to.
  • Bolt of Change – At WC8 this seems high, but it does not need line of sight and can target any unit in the 18” range. Great with LOC to snipe out key or wounded units.
  • Gaze of Fate – Love this power, WC6 and reroll any die later in the game? 1 free CP a turn? Yes please. Use this first before any clutch power, like Warptime, or to reroll a key damage or charge roll.


  • Fleshy Abundance – Great power that will annoy them when you return Nurgings up to full strength.
  • Shrivelling Pox – This works on any unit and gives them -1 toughness. This can really help when you are on that cusp of wounding on 5’s verses 4’s for a unit you want to explode.
  • Virulent Blessing – Another Nurgle buff that gives +1 to hit and makes 7+ double damage! Apply this to an already heavy hitter to make things disappear.
  • Miasma of Pestilence – The obligatory -1 to hit for a unit. Makes that already hard to get rid of unit even harder.


  • Symphony of Pain – While Nurgle makes their unit better to survive, Slaanesh makes other units worse to let their units survive. -1 to hit is no slouch and will do great things to keep your ladies around.
  • Hysterical Frenzy – A very powerful spell and once gotten off can do some great work allowing a unit already within 1” to immediately pile in and attack. Great if you need to finish off a unit so you can charge again.
  • Pavane of Slaanesh – Not bad for big units we are seeing and taking off some models with mortal wounds. Does one mortal wound for every 6 you roll and you roll one die per model in the unit.

Conclusion and Theoretical Lit

Well that rounds out the Hot items in the Daemons book, at least from my perspective. You will probably be seeing at least some of these in a list you face or bring. Here is one that I’ve tried recently and had some success.

Khorne Battalion

  • Bloodmaster – Crimson Crown
  • Karanak
  • 19 Bloodletters – Icon/Instrument
  • 19 Bloodletters – Icon/Instrument
  • 19 Bloodletters – Icon/Instrument

Tzeentch Battalion

  • Changecaster
  • Fluxmaster
  • 24 Horrors – Icon
  • 10 Brimstone
  • 10 Brimstone
  • 6 Flamers
  • 6 Flamers
  • 6 Flamers

Undivided Battalion

  • Poxbringer
  • Poxbringer
  • 3 Nurglings
  • 3 Nurglings
  • 3 Nurglings
  • 3 Fiends

This list has 12 Command points and gives a lot of flexibility for drops. I did all three Bloodletters, all three Flamers, a Fluxmaster and a Bloodmaster to buff up my dropping units and had the Horors form the core of my back line. I felt I wasn’t missing much on the loci for the undivided detachment as I wanted some fiends in there. I faced Magnus, Mortation, a Renegade Knight, and 3 units of 10 Bloodletters with a Daemon Prince and a Bloodmaster. She was an inexperienced player to Daemons and we were trying thigns out and giving advice. I wanted to see what I could do to the heavy hitters so went after the knight first. With all the Bloodletter attacks and the Flamers I was able to get the knight down to 6 wounds and finished it off the next round. I was able to win mostly by board control and being more aggressive. This probably not my end list as I’m trying out a lot of stuff and want to see more combos in action. I think Nurgle might have the most potent combos, but have much less of them and have a ton of Slaanesh, which is my jam. I think Slaanesh is probably the worse off, but with the right general may be able to do some tricky things. It will need a precise finicky approach, but I think it may be doable. The key will be getting locked into combat, finishing off squads in their assault phase, and bouncing around from unit to unit with their speed.

So that concludes my insight into the new Daemon codex. Don’t know where to start? Take a look at the units listed above. Facing a Daemons list? Know that some of these options will surely be in there. Know they enemy for with that knowledge comes the ability to crush them upon the battlefield. What units and combos are you excited to try or what makes you quake in your boots from the Daemons book? Post your thoughts below!

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About CaptainA

Aaron is a longtime gamer of many systems. He is an avid community builder of 40k and after running many 40k events in Portland, Oregon, has recently moved to Boise, Idaho and continues to host and run leagues and events. He has also recently expanded his repertoire and entered the second hand Warhammer business. Check out his website at to see how he can help you get rid off your old and unused models.

17 Responses to “Codex Daemons: The “Best of” Review”

  1. Cj February 10, 2018 1:48 am #

    6 is the max number of flamers you can deepstrike for 1CP.

    • CaptainA February 10, 2018 10:13 am #

      Yalp, fixed!

      • WestRider February 10, 2018 12:43 pm #

        Speaking of Flamers, you talk about them in the discussion of the list you closed the article with, but there don’t seem to be any listed. It’s just the Troops and HQs in all three Detachments, plus the Fiends.

        • CaptainA February 10, 2018 1:21 pm #

          Tanks! Fixed. Man I’m rusty.

  2. Arabviking February 10, 2018 7:14 am #

    Thanks for the review! 🙂

    I think combination of several alliegiance of chaos is really the way to go for daemons right now.
    Several troops deep striking high numbers is defintly a thing now, and can be a great addition to the CSM forces aswell.

    • CaptainA February 10, 2018 10:21 am #

      I’m thinking probably the best mono will probably be Nurgle with all the buffs and combos they can get, but mixed is probably the best way to go.

      • abusepuppy February 10, 2018 7:53 pm #

        A Daemon list that wants to compete realistically MUST have Nurgle in it, because without Nurglings you aren’t going to be able to deep strike your guys anywhere near the enemy (due to Rangers, Scouts, etc.) Beyond that the other stuff can be combined in various ways, but I don’t think you can play without Nurgle.

        • WestRider February 10, 2018 9:17 pm #

          And it’s really quite easy to fit some in. As low as 124 Points for a minimum Patrol, and more realistically something like 178, and you don’t need the Locus, so if you want to bring in Be’Lakor, or a Unit from a god not in your main Detachment(s), it’s perfect for that, too, like with CaptainA’s Fiends.

          • Dan February 11, 2018 3:03 pm

            it’s a shame that Belakor is pretty bad now with his increased cost and restricted dark hereticus discipline

          • WestRider February 11, 2018 7:43 pm

            I know. I still want to use my conversion sometimes, tho.

  3. Mitchell Woerner February 10, 2018 8:42 pm #

    What do you think of Rotigus?

  4. Marandamir February 10, 2018 11:33 pm #

    Are the index herald’s for demons still legal to play? the newly named versions I assume replace them but technically the don’t. Their +1Str aura would stack if so under the current errata as they have two different names. Just curious if this is legal and if so is GW is gonna fix it in an upcoming faq?

    • CJ February 11, 2018 3:47 am #

      Haha I’ll add this to the BS exploit list.

      I don’t think it actually works tho, without wilful ignorance. Everyone who’s read the codex knows the new names for the heralds and it is the players responsibility to choose appropriate datasheets to match thier models, with codex having priority.

    • Blight1 February 11, 2018 6:57 am #

      If the name of the ability hasn’t changed then no matter what is decided for the legality of old herald datasheets their auras wouldn’t stack.

      • Marandamir February 12, 2018 3:22 pm #

        The name of the aura ability and the name of the datasheet changed. For stacking purposes they are basically two different units with different powers. Obviously, GW meant to replace the old heralds with the new ones but they didn’t put anything in the new dex saying they do.

  5. Zool February 12, 2018 11:27 am #

    The new model nurgle beast unit is quite shocking. Sigmar – w40k multi model which is buffed by the new horticulous slimux . The unit can be 1-9 size, which means u can have elite slot for 34 points. Or max unit size for only 306 points.
    The big shocker is price. Single box contains only one beast for 32.5 EUR (40 USD). Ouch.

    • Beau February 12, 2018 8:31 pm #

      I used them a lot in 6th and 7th. 8th on the other hand no thanks. Poor rules for them to release that new model to. They used to be able to counter-charge from 12 inches away, this 3″ is crap.

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